Pizza cones are sweeping the Internet. At Giordano’s, we live and breathe pizza, so it’s not a stretch to say we thought we’d seen it all when it comes to pizza. From wild toppings to pizzas of all levels of crust thickness, and even that healthy abomination, the cauliflower crust — there’s no pizza stone left unturned.
That said, we weren’t familiar with the concept of the pizza cone. An interesting take on pizza that kind of reminds us of a calzone, this portable pizza is pretty darn cool. Today, we’ll take a look at the new savory treat on the block — the pizza cone. What is it, and how can you make your very own?
What Is a Pizza Cone?
Pizza cones are a food innovation popularized by a company called Kono Pizza. Apt, right? Kono Pizza has been featured on the Today show, Good Morning America and Fox News. The company has been making their namesake cone creations in Italy since 2004, and has since taken the world by storm. You can find Kono Pizza in a variety of states, as well as countries across Europe and Asia.
The pizza cone is just what it sounds like: a conical dough stuffed with all your typical toppings. It’s a fast-casual take on pizza, a product that’s equal parts whimsy and convenience. The pizza cone promises a clean eating experience — no dripping oil and sauce on your white shirt, it’s easy to eat on the go — a real win-win if you ask us.
A pizza cone contains the basic ingredients — sauce, mozzarella and pizza crust. Sure, the pizza crust is shaped like an ice cream cone, and the layering process is a little different — cheese goes in first to plug any holes in the crust, in keeping with the clean-eating ethos.
How Widespread Is This Pizza Cone Trend?
Pizza cones, it turns out, have been around for at least a few years. A bit of Internet research reveals someone filed a patent for the innovation way back in 1984.
They’re a Pinterest favorite and have a pretty strong Instagram game, too. Which makes sense: There’s a grab-and-go practicality to them you never really thought you needed, plus there’s the whole novelty element. It’s pretty phenomenal.
What’s more, we’ve found tons of products that facilitate the making of this cheese-filled ice cream cone. For example, there are pizza cone cutters designed to help you achieve that perfect shape, and molds that keep the dough conical as it bakes in the oven.
There’s also commercial-grade equipment — you know, in case inspiration strikes and you want to start your own pizza cone kitchen.
DIY-ing the “Cone” Mold
As we mentioned, there are plenty of options available if you plan on investing some cash into the pizza cone trend. Cone kits tend to come with cones and stands to prop them up while you load them with an assortment of toppings. They also come with a dough cutter, so you can make perfectly symmetrical cones. Cool idea, but it’s one of those single-use items that take up space in the kitchen. The Pizzacraft version only comes with two cones, so you’re not getting a ton of mileage for all your pizza-making efforts.
You can save money and make a DIY cone mold by using ice cream cones or those cone-shaped paper cups for snow cones.
Grab six to 10 of your desired cone shape and cover with aluminum foil. Grease thoroughly with nonstick spray or olive oil, so the dough slides right off after the first round in the oven.
A Pizza Cone Recipe — You’re Welcome
By this point, you may be wondering how to make a pizza cone. For all those aspiring pizza cone chefs, we’re going to provide you ideas to get started.
Most recipes online recommend using store-bought dough to make your pizza cones. You can buy this just about anywhere — and, if desired, make things whole-wheat or gluten-free.
People seem to use Pillsbury dough fairly often, but the Trader Joe’s prepared dough is another solid find, plus they’ve got a few different flavors. We’ve also come across a few instances of people taking the ice cream cone comparison too literally and stuffing cheese and pepperoni into a sugar cone. We can’t condone that behavior, but feel free to try it at your own risk.
It seems part of the appeal of making pizza cones at home is the convenience factor, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have time to make your dough from scratch.
If you’re so inclined, though, this recipe does include the homemade dough part of the equation. And while there are a lot of steps involved, the process is quite simple. Have a look:
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 package of instant dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pizza sauce — even better if you can add this to a condiment bottle for easy application
- Italian sausage, chopped
- Fresh basil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, yeast, honey and salt. Combine with an electric mixer.
- Slowly add the warm water and olive oil, continuing to beat the mixture until you can easily form it into a ball shape.
- The dough should feel slightly tacky. However, if it is too sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes more manageable. On the other hand, if the dough feels dry, spoon in some water.
- Next, transfer the dough to a bowl greased with olive oil.
- Cover with cling wrap, and set the dough in a warm area to rest.
- Leave it alone for about an hour until the ball has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Next, you’ll want to transfer the dough to a lightly floured working surface. Divide into two balls, and cover with a clean towel. Let the balls sit for roughly 10 minutes.
Forming the Cones
- As the dough continues to rise, it’s time to make your cones. Grab your desired cone shape and grease with nonstick spray.
- The cone shape is there to ensure your pizza cones retain their signature shape. When the dough is done rising, roll it out and cut into semi-circle shapes.
- Then, roll the dough over the cone. Start by working from the bottom up, smoothing the dough as you go. You’ll want the dough to overlap a bit, so there aren’t any seams for sauce and toppings to escape through.
- Take out your baking sheet and place your cone-shaped dough face down on the surface. Cook for about seven minutes, or until you can see the dough has developed a golden-brown color.
- Remove from heat, and very carefully, remove the dough from your molds.
- Transfer your cones into mugs, or a pizza cone stand — seriously, we don’t expect you to actually have one of these — to prop them up.
- Now, it’s time to add the fillings. First, add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese to each pizza cone. Then, spoon or squirt sauce on top of the cheese. Then, add the pepperoni, sausage and additional cheese. Top with fresh basil and a little more pizza sauce.
- Place pizza cones on a rack that will keep them upright. Or, if you don’t have that type of thing, place them in oven-safe mugs. Put the cones back in the oven for about five minutes, still at 450 degrees.
- Cheese should be melted and slightly bubbling, and the crust should be a nice, golden-brown color. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Is There a Difference Between Using Homemade Dough and Store-Bought Pizza Dough?
The short answer? Yes. But, let us preface this by saying both options are delicious. If you go with a store-bought dough like the Pillsbury brand or something similar, you’ll get a thinner, softer crust. The homemade dough will give you a thicker, more bread-like cone. The latter results in a calzone-type crust that perfectly encases toppings and a hearty serving of sauce.
Some store-bought dough might open at the seams. It’s no big deal, but if you want to stop leakage, you’ll want to seal it up by adding extra cheese — it’s really the glue that holds it all together.
If you’d rather keep things lighter on the cheese, you might want to consider crimping the pizza dough before placing it onto the cone mold.
How? Well, after you cut your semi-circle shape, fold it in half and match up the edges. Moisten the edges of the dough with a tiny bit of water, then use a crimper or a fork to press the edges together. Then, gently pick up the dough and slip it over your cone-shaped mold.
What Kind of Toppings Go Into a Pizza Cone?
The pizza cone is a versatile vessel. Load it up with leftovers, or grab some cheese and pepperoni and call it a day. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the topping combos that are sure to impress. Swap out the sauce for something zestier, keep things vegetarian — it’s up to you.
Anyway, here’s some inspiration for how to cook a pizza cone.
Taco Pizza Cones
Taco pizza cones are a fun one. Add beans and salsa in place of pizza sauce, and swap the mozzarella for something a little sharper. Load it up with your favorite taco toppings, and voila, you’re good to go.
- Black beans
- Cheddar cheese
- Ground beef
- Hot sauce
Sautéed Veggie Pizza Cones
Sautéeing a few veggies before you load them up into a pizza cone can be a great way to use up leftovers, especially if you’ve got a little of this and a little of that. Our favorite combo includes things like garlic and onions, kale, halved cherry tomatoes and a whole lot of marinara. Top it off with some hot chili flakes for a little kick.
Italian Meatball Pizza Cone
Kind of like a meatball sub, the unique shape of the dough provides the perfect vessel for the bite-sized pieces of meat — and is in keeping with the new Italian tradition of the pizza cone.
- Meatballs — beef, turkey or vegetarian
- Grilled onions and bell pepper
- Mozzarella cheese
- Pizza sauce
- Parmesan cheese
Chili Cheese Cone
This recipe is the perfect union of chili dogs and pizza. Well, minus the dog part. The chili cheese cone makes some simple swaps. Chili works as a sauce, of course — and the cheese and cone shape make it easier to enjoy one of life’s messiest meals.
- Cheese of your choice — we prefer a mix of jack cheese and cheddar
- Diced onions
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced jalapeño — optional
Barbecue Pulled Pork Pizza Cone
A BBQ twist on pulled pork, this pizza cone is sweet, tangy and easy to enjoy without ruining a nice piece of clothing. In short, much better than the pulled pork sandwich.
- Shredded pork
- Canned pineapple
- Barbecue sauce
- Sautéed onions
Hawaiian Pizza Cone
Hawaiian pizza is one of our perennial favorites. Add ham or spice it up with pancetta and of course, pineapple. Easy and amazing.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pizza sauce
- Canned pineapple
- Ham or pancetta
Goat Cheese and Chicken Pesto Pizza Cone
A great way to use up some leftover chicken, this pizza cone subs goat cheese for mozzarella, adding an unexpected twist. With garlic, greens and pesto, this might be one of our favorite cones yet.
- Chicken, shredded
- Goat cheese
- Pesto sauce — it’s best if you use homemade, but it’s up to you
- Minced garlic
- A healthy dose of greens — chard, kale, spinach or a mix
Ultimately, you can add anything you want to the cone shape — it’s just a vessel ready for any flavor combination you can think up. Heck, we’ve even seen a few dessert cone ideas, so you could go that way, too.
Sometimes You Just Can’t Beat the Real Thing
Look, food trends are fun, and the pizza cone is a cute idea — the perfect recipe to impress your kids and their friends, or make ahead for a cold pizza lunch you can look forward to during your workday.
But, with all that in mind, one fact remains: You can’t beat regular pizza. There’s a reason it’s everyone’s favorite food — a food fad before meals became something to put on Instagram. Deep-Dish Chicago, New York style, whatever — a slice that gets messy with gooey cheese and homemade sauce is an irreplaceable pleasure.
At Giordano’s, our pizzas span multiple pizza styles — newer staples like barbecue chicken to older classics like Margherita pizza, meat lovers’ and Hawaiian. With thin-crust pizzas for the purist and deep-dish pies that require a knife and fork, let us be your pizza destination. Whether you want to dine in or carry out, the Giordano’s experience never goes out of style.